Still confident on Tully mill deal

RELATIONSHIPS between the executives of Maryborough and Tully Sugar may have soured in the most recent war of words but the $90 million takeover bid by MSF is looking sweet.

“We did see this sort of behaviour during our bid for Mulgrave,” MSF CEO Mike Barry said yesterday. “So we're used to what we're getting from Tully.”

MSF took over Mulgrave Central Mill last year.

“We're still more than hopeful we'll get Tully in time, a long hard process of six to nine months maybe but we're comfortable with that.”

Mr Barry accused Tully's board of being “quite selective” in its pronouncements MSF had reported pre-tax losses in the last two years of $8.2m and $6.9m.

“It was only last week that we put out our profit guide for the year ahead, expecting to make a net profit after tax of between $5.5 and $6.5 million.

“We're one of the only areas that's shown an increased crop year after year in spite of suffering poor weather conditions so this news demonstrates a sensational turn around.”

Mr Barry is so unhappy with the Tully board's recent vociferous condemnation of MSF he wrote last week to Tully's lawyers asking that the basis for Tully statements “be properly addressed by Tully in its targets statement to ensure that each Tully shareholder is provided with information necessary to make a properly informed decision as to whether or not to accept MSF's offer”.

Meanwhile Tully shareholders have called an extraordinary general meeting for November 24; Mr Barry believes that indicates shareholders are “unhappy with how things are going”.

“I certainly know with my communications with shareholders that they're a bit puzzled as to why Tully's board hasn't engaged with us.”

The takeover bid is taking up a deal of Mr Barry's time but he is also hopeful that the council will shortly approve MSF's $500 million Mary River marina development, which has already been given the green light by the EPA.

The development will include 1300 dwelling lots and 300 berths.

Yesterday councillors turned up in bulk for a tour and lunch at MSF - right on the eve of tomorrow's marina project presentation with, Mr Barry promises, all the work done to get it to approval stage.

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